At any given moment there will be a song in heavy rotation that will capture all that is good and right about the current musical zeitgeist. Right now there are a number of qualified candidates for the position, although I personally think Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (which, yes, I’m aware I mention in this column almost weekly) and “New Slaves” from Kanye’s Yeezus (which recently appeared at number 56 on the Hot 100 despite the fact that it hasn’t been promoted as an official single) are the strongest ones, since they capture the collapsing of genres and time periods that is one of the most exciting things about pop music right now.
And at any given moment there will also be one that sums up everything tacky and horrible about its moment in pop cultural time. Right now that song is Jason Derulo’s “The Other Side,” which after ten weeks is hovering at the number 25 position.
Derulo’s one of those performers who’s a huge pop star to a very specific kind of audience—he’s had featured spots on American Idol, and he’s a two-time Teen Choice Award winner, if that gives you any context. If you aren’t an Idol viewer or a teen, it’s likely that you know him best from the supercut of Jason Derulo singing his own name that made the rounds on the Internet recently.